2008 Tour Down Under a record breaker

This year's Tour Down Under – the first UCI ProTour event ever staged outside of Europe – has been a record breaker for South Australia. Preliminary economic impact and research figures received have shown that the 2008 event has provided a major economic boost, with more visitors to the state, greater participation in the support events, more spectators and increased media coverage.

Announcing details in parliament on Thursday, the South Australian Minister for Tourism, Jane Lomax-Smith, said the results were a great reward for everyone involved and vindicated the State Government's efforts to secure ProTour status. "I am delighted to announce that the 2008 Tour Down Under injected $17.3M (a 50.4% increase from 2007) into the State's economy through the direct expenditure of the 15,100 event specific visitors who travelled from interstate and overseas to witness cycling history," Dr Lomax-Smith said.

The increase in visitor nights was also impressive. "Total visitor nights topped an all time high of 195,200. Of this amount 140,500 were contributed by the event specific visitors, meaning a 37.7% increase on event specific visitor nights compared to the 2007 event. The 548,000 spectators who lined the roads to cheer on the best cycling teams in the world made their mark with a 53.5% increase in spectators this year."

But one of the greatest returns of hosting a top-level cycling race is the media coverage and the exposure of the country's tourism attractions. "To date, the dollar value of editorial media coverage generated is $41.7M and we do know that the entire world has been watching with more than 76 hours of broadcast television programming, one long advertising campaign for South Australia," the Minister said.

Examples of where the Tour Down Under had been broadcast included key tourism markets such as UK, Italy, France, Belgium, India and New Zealand. "Staging the first-ever UCI ProTour event outside of Europe with just three months lead time was a challenge, but the hard work and commitment has paid off, with these results demonstrating that the UCI ProTour status does make a difference," the Minister concluded.

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